Beau Knows Blog is brought to you by the American Ultimate Disc League
Well, the powers that be have given me a blog, saying that I can write about whatever I want. And so like a young child, I shall spend my time putting their good intentions to the test. I will start with the words of a woman. I forget her name but I do remember her ideas from a TED talk. She had spent many years being a human statue who paints herself white and puts a bucket down for tips, a living that relies on other’s kindness and taught her a lot about the beauty of asking. Her idea was that we as a culture are terrified of asking for help because we are scared to be exposed, scared to fail, and that we are taught independence is strength. Now she is a musician who raised a lot of money for a new album because she was not afraid to ask for help from crowdsourcing. And so here I am putting aside my pride and asking for help; please go to my kickstarter and donate to help my Dragon Book project, there are only a few days left.
Phew, that was indeed difficult but if I can do it you can too. I am not talking about asking for money, I am talking about asking for something far more valuable to the ultimate community: knowledge. I think the ultimate community is notoriously bad at asking for help from each other when it comes to being a better player, coach, GM, or even person. I have seen it at every level, pickup, college, club, and of course pro. Everyone knows they know everything. This attitude is passed like STDs at UCSB (joke based on myth). Public service announcement. Be smart, be humane, get tested (especially if you’re sleeping around) I am looking at you college cesspool of attractive young folk. Anyway, this know-it-all attitude has always baffled me and kind of bothered me. Is it pride, fear, or a calloused indifference built up by our society? My guess is that it comes from the fact that many ultimate players come from intelligent backgrounds so they assume they have inherent knowledge in all endeavors. But I will leave that can of worms for the philosophers and the fishermen and stick to what I know.
I know I can get better, and I am guessing you can too. See, I believe in an individual ranking system based on potential. At the end of every season I look over each part of my game, I usually give myself one A and the rest is a sliding scale. For example, I gave myself an A in catching hucks which is up from the B- I got last year. However, I gave myself a C+ on upwind throws which is up from the C I got last year but nowhere near the A+ I am pursuing. I think 90 percent of my turnovers were bad upwind throws, I threw at least 3 in the finals that were uncatchable. Overall, if I were to rank myself against my own potential I would say I am somewhere around 83% or B-. There are plenty of areas still lacking. I suggest everyone do this, then begin to think about how and maybe who can help you, all it takes is a little humility and an open mind.
I think curiosity and listening are talents I lean heavily on. It may appear at most times that I am a large unflinching boulder in the middle of the creek buffeted by the waters of others thoughts, but I am actually quite porous with a special spongy interior. For example, when I wanted to run faster, I found Olympic-caliber sprinters and asked to train with them. When I wanted to throw better, I watched and talked to good throwers. I remember walking up to one of the dominant players at the time, Mike Grant, and saying “how do you throw so far”. He didn’t really know me but he took the time to give me a few tips. And that’s awesome. The top players and coaches are super accessible and usually friendly. Further more, a lot of them are good teachers because, well, they are teachers by profession. What more could one want? Nice, talented folks who are willing to explain it to you like you are five. True, you probably won’t get a straight or honest answer out of me, but why are players like Tank from Doublewide not surrounded by throngs of players pulling on his habit to glean gems of solid fundamentals? Why aren’t harems of men and women pleading with Sandy from Scandal to teach them sprinting drills? True, what’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander, but the gander should still ask for help if the goose is really fast. There is talent and knowledge all around you, just ask.
Hold on. That just gave me a great idea, maybe you don’t have the means to ask some of these players for tips. Tune into my next blog post where I will ask for some tips and tricks from good players.
“Alright, I will wait!” You say, taking a sip of some leftover spiked eggnog. “But in the meantime, lets say I caught you on a good day and asked for help. What would you suggest, Monsieur Beaufort?”
Beaufort is my full name by the way. Well, before I get to the nitty gritty I have to mention one important caveat about asking for help and learning. Everyone is different. Repeat the last sentence again. Throughout your life you will be taught a lot but the ability to keep what works and discard what doesn’t is very valuable. For example, when I wanted to improve my starting speed, I read every single training regiment for the fastest sprinters in the world and they all claimed different things to be the cause of their success. Some never ran longer than 100m, a few never lifted weights, a couple only trained at 70%, others only ran at 95%, some trained 8 days a week, while others trained once a week and just thought about training the rest of the time. So I tried every single one of their programs till I found what worked for me. Yes there are concepts that will work for most people but there is no golden secret to success. It’s annoying, trust me I know, but it makes finding success that much sweeter.
“Fine,” you grumble, taking a bite of that unhealthy snack you love to munch on during the offseason, “I understand, now shut up and tell me what you suggest.”
Well, my number one suggestion is learn to listen to your body. The most important speaking your body does is the language of pain. We all know pain comes a calling every workout, it waits for us and wants us to try hard so it can do that annoying yodeling that hurts the ol’ noggin. Now the problem is that some scammer once coined the term “pain is gain”. The problem is that there are two types of pain, the “gain kind” and then the “lame kind”. The “gain kind” is self explanatory: after the workout your body goes to work rebuilding, making the tiny tears into stronger muscle. The other kind is the “lame kind” and if you start ignoring it you will be a lame duck faster than the quickest quack. It has taken me about ten years of vigorous and often stupid amounts of training to detect the slight difference in octaves between the two. When I was younger I was quite tone deaf to my body’s cries and as a result I overtrained and stayed injured all the time. It sucked. On the other hand I have seen plenty of players who cower at the slightest sound of pain and it sucks that we will never get to see them at their full potential. It’s kind of like shifting a manual transmission in a touchy race car, you have to give it some gas if you want to go fast but you don’t want to hit the gas to hard or you will lurch to a stop or crash. You have to find that sweet spot. Just make sure you’re not the person who is too scared to even get your ass in gear.
“Humph” you say, scratching the inside of your nose. “I already have perfect pitch Mr. Beau, tell me something you do.”
Fair enough. The thing that helps me the most is attacking the off season. It is where I add that extra inch to my vertical and trim that half second off my 40. I play very little ultimate, instead working on the aspects that make up ultimate. During the season it is impossible to train to your maximum potential. Assuming you’re doing it right the in season practices and games take too much out of you. But right now, with a fresh body, the gym, track, hills and beach are ready to accept down payments of sweat and deposits of desire. Pick a weakness from last year and turn it into a strength. If you want to be a better player this year, put down the eggnog, pick up the sneakers and go do a fun workout with a friend.
“Okay Senior El’ Beau, got my sneakers, what workout should I do?”
Unfortunately that would take analyzing your individual weaknesses. Let’s see, maybe if my kickstarter project is successful, I will feel loved enough to make a few free videos of my favorite workouts. That’s how love works.
Youth Ultimate Coaching Conference 2014
Speaking of getting good quality help, I kind of accidentally dug myself straight into a plug for the 2014 coaching clinic which I believe is the 1st of February. Although you will be forced to put up with me as a keynote. ( I am getting paid one croissant so expect one croissant worth of wisdom from me) There will be quite a good line up to make up for my slack. Plenty of learning about ultimate will be had, so if that floats your boat grab a paddle and row on over to: http://bayareadisc.org/events/24402-2014-youth-ultimate-coaching-conference
Happy new year, make some goals and stay with them like STDs at UCSB.
Website of the Week
My website of the week goes to http://www.pulleddisc.com. A website I never knew existed but has lots of information on throwing. The website is made by a decent chap named Brady Meisenhelder who was a player for Machine.
Feature photo by Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos.com